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King co-sponsors a bill that would protect access to medication abortion

Abortion Pills
Jeff Roberson
Containers of the medication used to end an early pregnancy sit on a table inside a Planned Parenthood clinic, Oct. 29, 2021, in Fairview Heights, Ill. A report released Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022 says most U.S. abortions are now done with pills rather than surgery. The trend spiked during the pandemic as telemedicine increased and pills by mail were allowed.

Maine Independent Sen. Angus King is co-sponsoring new legislation to ensure access to medication abortions in states where abortion is legal.

The legislation was introduced in the Senate last month and has the support of nearly a dozen Democratic senators.

Medication abortions now account for more than half of all abortions in the U.S. and have been used for more than 20 years. Patients had previously been required to pick up the first dose of the drugs in-person, but that rule was relaxed during the pandemic, and the FDA permanently changed the regulation late last year.

The new bill would establish those guidelines into federal law, allowing people in states where abortion is legal to get the drugs through telehealth and mail order pharmacies.

King described the legislation as a "commonsense step" following the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, in order to prevent unnecessary obstacles in states where abortion is legal.

In a statement, King said that he wished the legislation "was not necessary, but with abortion rights under siege across the nation, it is tragically and crucially important."